Rural Ministry allocates RM57.15mil through Risda to increase rubber production, says Zahid

BAGAN DATUK: The Rural and Regional Development Ministry through the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) has allocated RM57.15mil to kick off efforts to increase natural rubber production by embracing the Model Pengeluaran Getah Negara (Petara).

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic), who is also the Rural and Regional Development Minister, said Petara is Risda’s new road map to ensure the rubber sector moves forward in line with the Rural Madani Aspiration introduced by the government.

"It is aimed at reviving rubber production to the optimum level. We have discussed to improve the income of rubber smallholders through the development of 257,000 hectares of land that has not been used or not fully utilised due to a shortage of workers throughout the country," he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister was speaking to reporters after attending the ‘Santunan Kasih Ramadan’ programme here today which was also attended by Risda chairman Manndzri Nasib.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bagan Datuk, said moving forward through the Petara programme, Risda will look for a new mechanism to increase rubber production by finding a solution to a shortage of workers as well as replace ageing smallholders and trees.

Apart from rubber, Risda are also studying alternative crops that has the potential to increase the income of rubber smallholders.

"Through the Petara model, the return of investment can be enjoyed from between a year to three years which is a short term for rubber smallholders to see their fruits of labour,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the same function, Ahmad Zahid also presented RM50,000 under Risda’s Corporate Social Responsibility to six education centres in Bagan Datuk while 1,500 asnaf (recipient of zakat) from the Bagan Datuk parliamentary constituency also received contributions under the same programme. - Bernama

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